Happy National Book Day!!
Happy National Book Day!!
“That’s just what they want: for you to doubt yourself. As long as they can make you think you’re not worthy, they still got you in chains.”
–Jodi Picoult, “Small Great Things”
“One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd” by Jim Fergus is fiction that reads like a true-life diary. It is at times funny, sad, frightening, and always interesting.
In 1875, May was in an insane asylum because she wouldn’t toe the line with her family. “I have never had much interest in the church. Perhaps the hypocrisy inherent in Father’s position as a church elder, while remaining one of the least Christ-like men I’ve ever known, has something to do with my general cynicism toward organized religion of all kinds,” she writes.
An opportunity arose to volunteer in the Brides for Indians program, and off she went.
She gives advice to her inexperienced friend about how to make a man happy: “Wait on them hand and foot, cook for them, have sexual congress whenever and wherever they desire — but never initiate the act yourself and do not demonstrate any forwardness or longings of your own; this appears to frighten men — most of whom are merely little boys pretending to be men. And, perhaps most importantly, just as most men fear women who express their physical longings, so they dislike women who express opinions — of any sort and on any subject. … Thus I would recommend that you agree unequivocably with everything your new husband says … oh, yes, one final thing — let him believe that he is extremely well endowed, even if, especially if, he is not.”
On the way west, she meets other women in the program and talks about their motivations. “On this train all are equal.” They are “volunteers in an important social and political experiment.” She says, “Frankly, from the way I have been treated by the so-called ‘civilized’ people in my life, I rather look forward to residency among the savages. I should hope that at the very least they might appreciate us.”
At the Indian camp she observes, “Perhaps our cultures are not so different after all: the women do all the real work while the men do all the talking.” “I am already a fly in the ointment of savage society, already rocking the conventional boat, already considered to be something of a scandal.” “The savage life, it strikes me, and particularly a woman’s life among them, is one of nearly constant physical effort. There is little time for leisure.”
It’s a fascinating read. It was recommended to me by a book club.
I found a fun murder-mystery series featuring a female amateur sleuth in today’s world. In her Italian Kitchen mysteries, Rosie Genova introduces us to Victoria “Vic” Rienzi (age 33) and her Italian-American family.
It starts in “Murder and Marinara.” Victoria writes mysteries under the name of Vick Reed. She wants to take a little time away from mystery-writing and work on a historical novel based on her family, which owns and runs the Casa Lido restaurant, set near the Atlantic beach in Oceanside Park, New Jersey.
Her family members are all lovable characters, and the world of the Casa Lido is a comfy place for the reader to inhabit, like having a nice, hot plate of spaghetti. Her big brother Danny is a cop, so he and she are in conflict whenever a crime happens. Her former boyfriend is still on the scene, and she’s disconcerted by how she feels whenever he’s around. But oh, there’s also a new guy to bring butterflies to her stomach.
I don’t want to go into the plots because there are surprises. The first book was so good I ran right out and got the next two: “The Wedding Soup Murder” and “A Dish Best Served Cold.” The books, which should be read in order, remind me of the Stephanie Plum series: funny, sexy, well-written.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Looking back at the Kent State shootings.
From HuffPost Books: 22 books women think men should read
From Buzzfeed: The emotional stages of waiting to read the next book in a series
From Goodreads: 16 books that inspired J.K. Rowling
From entertainment news: Hey, let the boys read books with girls in them. Girls read books with boys in them, don’t they?
From the “Duh” file: Kids love comics, and they introduce them to other books.
From Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — The author of the best-selling “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” fantasy trilogy has a new three-book deal.
Laini Taylor has signed with publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to write three young-adult novels.
The publisher announced Thursday the first book will be called “The Muse of Nightmares” and is scheduled for fall 2016. It says the book is a “high fantasy” work about a clash between humans and the offspring of gods.
Taylor’s “Lips Touch: Three Times” was a National Book Award finalist in 2009. Two years later she began the “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” series, which ended last year with “Dreams of Gods & Monsters.”
Film rights to the trilogy have been acquired by Universal Pictures.
From Associated Press:
Book on hospital after Hurricane Katrina wins $10,000 award
NEW YORK (AP) — An author whose book “Five Days at Memorial” tells of a New Orleans hospital after Hurricane Katrina has won a $10,000 prize for nonfiction.
The literary and human rights organization PEN announced Wednesday that Sheri Fink had won the PEN/John Galbraith Award for a book of “notable literary merit” that highlights an important contemporary issue.
Joshua Horwitz’s “War of the Whales” won the $10,000 PEN/E.O. Wilson prize for science writing. John Branch’s “Boy On Ice” won the $5,000 PEN/ESPN award for sports writing.
Anna Whitelock’s “The Queen’s Bed” received a $5,000 prize for biography. And Saeed Jones’ “Prelude to Bruise” won the $5,000 PEN award for poetry.
From The Guardian: Children’s stories that inspired writers
From Buzz Feed: 13 books that perfectly describe heartbreak. (Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the link.)
From the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — One of the top honors for historians, the Francis Parkman Prize, has been given to Danielle Allen for a close and modern take on the Declaration of Independence.
The Society of American Historians told The Associated Press that Allen had won for “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.” Previous Parkman winners include Robert Caro, David McCullough and Eric Foner.
The society also announced Monday that David Levering Lewis, the Pulitzer Prize- and Parkman-winning historian, received the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award for lifetime achievement. The biennial James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction went to Jacinda Townsend’s “Saint Monkey” and Justin Leroy’s “Empire and the Afterlife of Slavery” received the Allan Nevins Prize for best dissertation.
The society is based at Columbia University.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column, Books I can’t stop thinking about.
Here’s a link to the latest “One for the Books” column on Books for Mom on Her Day.
From The Guardian: Top 10 books about vacations (shown: “The Talented Mr. Ripley”)
My Kindle shows that I now have a copy of “Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland” by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. I started reading it this morning during my coffee break. Wow!
I also have a new corporate-approved coffee mug to replace the one that sprung a leak!
This just in! Sue Grafton’s “X” is coming out August 25!
Among the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prize is Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See,” which won in the fiction category. If you haven’t yet read this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It is absolutely stunning. (Click the link for the list of winners.)
Ravenna’s own Regina Brett is coming back to the area for a couple of local appearances. (Photo by Bruce Hennes)
From The Washington Post:
Günter Grass, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Tin Drum” and other novels that made him known around the world as the moral conscience of 20th-century Germany, a reputation that faltered when he belatedly revealed that he had served as a young soldier in Hitler’s SS, died on April 13 at a hospital in Luebeck, Germany. He was 87. …